Paul Revere Williams, American Architect, the first museum exhibition of the prolific and acclaimed 20th century designer who was the first documented African American member of the American Institute of Architects and the first to become an AIA Fellow, was presented from October 22, 2010 through January 19, 2011 in the Art Museum of the University of Memphis.
This page offers aspects of Paul Revere Williams, American Architect. Texts and selected images for each of the decade overviews can be accessed by clicking on the dates. The photo essay texts and a representative image for each essay will open by clicking on the essay titles, and embedded at the bottom of the photo essay text is a link to the GALLERY with additional text and more images of the featured building. The photographs in the GALLERY are not necessarily identical to those in the photo essays.
The exhibit was the prototype for a traveling exhibition and was extensively evaluated. Professional and informal evaluations yielded recommendations: to add 5 or more building models; to add well-known vintage photographs by Julius Shulman and Maynard Parker; to add a limited number of blueprints for design professionals in the audience; to place Williams' work in an clearer interpretive framework; to publish an accompanying book with scholarly essays, new and vintage photos, a list of his buildings, a bibliography and short narratives like those in the website gallery. The Paul R. Williams project is now (early 2011) developing the exhibition with the recommended modifications and the book tentatively titled Practical Glamour and Persistence: Paul Revere Williams, Architect that will debut in 2014.
The recent exhibit, Paul Revere Williams, American Architect, emphasized Williams' architecture and shed light on his personal and professional history. Featuring 200 new photographs, the exhibit consisted of still photographs and slide shows arranged by decade, 1920s through 1960s, depicting interiors and exteriors of buildings. The images are of small and grand houses, business buildings, schools, churches and even the memorial for Al Jolson, the greatest of the black-face vaudville performers. Although not all of the 3000 or more of Williams-designed structures were illustrated, the wide range of styles and the mastery of detail for which he was celebrated are demonstrated, and unique large-scale photo installations provide close looks at seven projects. Practical Glamour and Persistence will add two photo installations. All photo installations will be represented in the book.